The SNP and the Tories joined forces last night to oppose Labour’s plans for the top 1% to pay their fair share.

In the STV Leaders’ Debate, both Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson argued strongly against those earning more than £150,000 paying more in tax to stop the cuts and invest in education. Last week the SNP government published an analysis arguing against a 50p top rate of tax for the richest, which made very similar arguments to a Tory Treasury document from 2012.

Kezia Dugdale exposed the fact that someone earning £250,000 a year would not pay a single penny more than they do today in income tax under the SNP’s plan. It was also revealed last night that under Ruth Davidson’s plan students would pay £6,000 after they graduate.

On a visit to a nursery in Rutherglen to highlight Labour’s plan for a Fair Start Fund, the Scottish Labour Leader said we need to stop the cuts and invest in the future. Labour’s Fair Start Fund would direct £300 for every nursery pupil from a deprived background. This would be paid for by setting a 50p top rate of tax for those earning more than £150,000 a year. The Fair Start Fund would also apply to schools, with head teachers receiving £1,000 for every pupil from a deprived background.

Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale:

“After last night’s TV debate it’s clear that only Labour is willing to ask the richest 1% to pay their fair share. Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon were practically falling over each other to argue that those earning more than £150,000 a year should not pay more in tax so we can invest in education.  Voters expect the Tories to argue against those at the top paying more, but what people won’t understand is Nicola Sturgeon making the same case when she supported higher taxes just a few days ago.

We are very clear – Labour would reverse George Osborne’s tax cut for the wealthiest few so we can stop the cuts to our nurseries and schools. The new powers of the Scottish Parliament mean we can make different choices from the Tories so we can end austerity.

The fact that someone earning a quarter of a million pounds will not pay a penny more in income tax than they do today under the SNP’s plan is shameful.

Tory plans for tuition fees and prescription charges would mean hidden tax rises on learning and on the sick. It says it all about the Tories when they won’t ask the top 1% to pay a single penny more but want students to pay £6,000 to learn and the sick to pay for their medicines. Labour supports free tuition and no prescription charges.

Ruth Davidson’s callous shrug of the shoulders when asked about the bedroom tax tells you all you need to know about the Scottish Tory Party. They are just the same old Tories.

Faced with a choice between using the powers of the Parliament to invest in our economy or carrying on with the cuts to schools and other vital public services, Labour will use the powers.”